Writing has always been an essential part of my life, but I never aspired to become a published author. Nor did I ever dream that I would write a book that could impact the life of a man who was falsely accused and convicted of a heinous murder.
My early writing was personal and private, but when I got my first job as an editorial and teaching assistant at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, I started to share my writing with others.
After the MIT job ended, I became a social worker with the City of Boston. My job was to help disadvantaged inner city youth finish high school by supporting them in their school work and matching them with jobs that would inspire them to stay in school and build a future. I had two life-changing experiences during my time as a social worker. Early on, I worked with a young man who had a history of trouble with the police. On the surface, there seemed to be little hope for him. He deeply identified with the inner-city lifestyle and was uncomfortable communicating with people outside his group. But soon after he started his job at the hospital, I witnessed him undergo a total transformation; he became a confident, productive individual who interacted well with people at all levels. He was also able to save enough money to buy his dream car.
I later worked with a young man who seemed to have everything going for him. He was well-spoken and knew how to present himself, and I thought that the Massachusetts College of Art would be a good job match for him. Everyone there loved him, but after a while things fell apart. He began to steal from the college’s art store, which seemed to be totally out of character for him. He lost the job and five years later he was convicted of murdering an elderly woman he cared for has a home health aide.
These two cases taught me how wrong the assumptions we make about people can be.
I attended law school while working full time at the Department of Social Services (DSS) and joined its legal department upon graduation. My goal was to be a litigator, and I wanted to make a difference in children’s lives.
The first day on the job I found myself, with no courtroom experience, litigating my first case. That was exactly what I wanted–feet to the fire–and that is how I learn. There were no niceties or preliminaries–I was given a case and told the objective. This was thrilling to me; I loved the challenge and the drama of the courtroom. Little did I know that later in my career I would be involved in one of Boston’s most sensational murder trials!